Karnataka is among the fastest growing states in India. But has its economic expansion translated into a better life for its people?
When pegged against other large Indian states – Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Kerala – Karnataka still lags behind on some socio-economic indicators, according to data compiled by BloombergQuint.
Only three-fourths of Karnataka’s population is literate. That’s the lowest rate among the five states used for this comparison. Kerala continues to be the benchmark for literacy in India.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that the state isn’t making efforts to improve. Karnataka has added new universities at a rapid pace over the last four years. The growth in universities in the state is only second to Gujarat.
Among comparable states, Karnataka has the most colleges per one lakh population. Only Telangana has a better college density.
However, the state's allocation to education as a share of its total spending has been on the decline.
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Karnataka’s healthcare spending as a share of its total expenditure is lower than that of Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Karnataka has only one government-run hospital for nearly one lakh people. In contrast, Maharashtra has twice the number of hospitals for the same number of people.
Karnataka is also among the only few large states that have a shortfall of doctors at its public health centres.
The southern state also has a relatively high number of infant deaths.
And the average life expectancy is lower than that of the other big states.
Karnataka has steadily improved on women’s access to education. As of 2017, it had one female student in its education system for every male student. It ranks only behind Kerala on that metric.
Karnataka also has a higher share of women-led businesses compared to the Indian average. More than a quarter of the small and medium enterprises in the state are run by women.
Karnataka also performs moderately well when it comes to financial inclusion of women. More than half of the women in the state own a personal bank account. That's higher than the likes of Gujarat and Maharashtra.